Amateur hockey coach who punched player gets 10-year suspension

MONTREAL - It's 10 years in the penalty box for an amateur coach who punched a player in the head.

MONTREAL – It’s 10 years in the penalty box for an amateur coach who punched a player in the head.

Quebec’s minor-hockey association has handed down a decade-long suspension to the midget-level coach who took a swing at a 16-year-old player last weekend.

The incident occurred during a Quebec midget A game. A scuffle occurred in the dying moments of a heated contest between teams from Chicoutimi and Jonquiere.

During that melee near the bench Andre Harvey, a coach with the Jonquiere Pumas, delivered a punch to an opposing player who was wearing a helmet.

The incident was caught on video and drew media attention.

The volunteer coach has admitted to the incident, and apologized, but he says the landed punch was an accident.

Hockey Quebec says that apology isn’t enough. In a statement Friday, it said the coach had a responsibility to set an example and that his behaviour violated the basic principles of amateur coaching.

“A coach has to know that he plays a crucial role at all times and has great influence on the people around him,” the statement said.

“He must play an educational role with respect to his players and show respect in his demeanour. This action went against the principles we look for when a coach gets involved in a sport, in any sport.”

The organization said it concluded, following an investigation by its regional disciplinary committee, that the act was deliberate.

It said it’s setting a new standard for punishment with the lengthy suspension.

“The decision taken by the disciplinary committee is exemplary and will create a precedent,” said Sylvain Lalonde, director-general for Hockey Quebec.

The Pumas’ assistant coach will get a four-game suspension.